I love Twitter for many reasons. Reading smart people’s tweets, getting help from them, jumping into a public conversation, learning something almost daily, getting inspired. Twitter is full of smart people. I had to unfollow some of them though.
From any of the social platforms, Twitter offered me the most benefits over the years. I deleted my Facebook account, I disappeared from LinkedIn, Endomondo, Instagram but I always kept my Twitter account. It’s invaluable.
Getting your head around Twitter at the beginning is hard. It’s a constant stream of people’s thoughts, sentences, characters, emojis. There are so many people, so many hashtags. You can’t keep up with it. That’s probably the first time you can’t inbox-zero this thing. You’re missing out on so many threads at once! You have to let it go.
Letting go of Twitter is liberating. Information overload is prevalent. You need to set yourself boundaries and log off from time to time. Twitter helps you in some way by being so overwhelming. It forces you to escape and find your offline time! You will miss out, and you will be more accepting of it. That’s very calming.
Twitter offers you some emotion too. It’s like any other social platform. It provides you interactions which you crave so much. The first time someone followed me on Twitter - excitement. The first time someone with a high profile followed me, omg! I was amazed, totally thrilled. I never really analyzed why they’ve done it. I started examining when I saw my followers counter going down.
The first time someone unfollowed me - denial. What have I said? I used this service to see who unfollowed me. However, I rarely dared to ask anyone why they had done it. I asked once in person (sorry Todd) but I didn’t understand the answer - how could it be so disconnected from the simple fact if we like each other or not.
‘Following’ on Twitter is not a symmetrical relation. You don’t have to follow everyone who follows you. No one is supposed to follow you forever. We choose what to see on our Twitter and how.
First time I unfollowed someone - annoyance. I clearly remember that I was not only overwhelmed by the number of tweets in my timeline by this person but also the quality of them. I had to cut the number of followed people. It became unmanageable in any reasonable way.
I unfollowed a lot of smart people and a lot of people I like. It’s probably ok. I keep lists of people, and they appear in my Tweetdeck columns. I visit individual profiles. I follow hashtags. Other people retweet essential things. I rarely feel like I’m missing out. Important threads find their way to me anyway. It’s liberating again. I had to let go.
Nowadays I rarely follow new people. I stopped using RSS (when Google abandoned yet another project - Reader), I quickly scan my Twitter timeline and have my Pocket full of articles. It’s my news providing platform, discussion panel, asking for a help go-to place and sometimes asking for a friend platform.
Everyone uses Twitter differently. Gutek follows three people (at the time of writing). Still, I sometimes learn about things because he tells me he has seen them on Twitter. Andrzej follows 4525 people at the time of writing, but I remember him hitting the limit couple of times. He needs to maintain a ~1:1 ratio of followers to following to keep on growing. He seems to enjoy being at this geek party.
I don’t look so much at how many people follows and unfollows me, but I used to.
My advice - don’t look at these numbers. Tweet, retweet, share, discuss, critique, help, joke, don’t hesitate for a second. Be kind.
I love Twitter. I would like to see what you’re tweeting about. Maybe I will. Please don’t be angry if I unfollow you though. I still like you.